Five Easy Ways to Maintain Your Privacy Online

The internet can often be a double-edged blade. It’s an incredible tool for sharing and communicating, of course, but with that also comes caveats – if you’re not vigilant, personal information can sometimes be easily tracked or exposed. Want to better take control of your privacy online? Here are five simple tips that can help.

Update privacy settings on apps and websites

Privacy settings can typically allow for a significant reduction in personal information being tracked, but apps and websites sometimes update or modify these settings with minimal notification. Check your settings on a platform once or twice each year to ensure your privacy is being maintained as best as possible. The National Security Cyber Alliance offers a set of links directly to privacy settings on a variety of popular websites/apps here.

Enable multifactor authentication (MFA)

More and more platforms are offering options for multifactor authentication (sometimes referred to as “two-step verification”), an excellent way to provide an extra layer of security to an account. By enabling this feature, another program or device must be used to approve logins, thereby making it significantly more difficult for anyone unintended to access.

Use a VPN

In some locations, such as when at home or using a public network, a virtual private network (usually shorted to VPN) can ensure a significantly more secure connection. A VPN encrypts your connection to the network, keeping your private information secure even on networks where it may otherwise be at risk. ITS encourages and recommends using the Etown VPN anytime, anywhere. The Knowledgebase has more information about this VPN software here.

Check privacy policies

One of the fundamental building blocks of the internet, online games and quizzes can actually sometimes end up putting your personal data and privacy at risk. Before jumping into a quiz shared with you on social media, take a moment to view the website’s privacy policy to see how what personal data they may collect and how that data will be handled – data collection companies often use these platforms to collect information from users.

Don’t overshare

Social media platforms can often encourage users to share every aspect of their day and their life. It’s important, then, to remain vigilant about exactly what you do and don’t choose to share – keep in mind what the information or pictures you post might be able to reveal to those tracking data. Geotagging and geolocation, the social-media-prevalent practice of attaching a specific location to an image or post, are best left disabled.

 

Adapted from EDUCAUSE post: https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2020/1/january-2020-take-ownership-of-your-privacy.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Cybersecurity, Home Page Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Enabling and Downloading Security Updates on Mac

For college-owned Macs, please contact the Help Desk for assistance upgrading.

For non-college-owned devices, ITS recommends that you not upgrade to a new full version of MacOS (Monterey) until ITS had tested it thoroughly and confirmed that it is okay to upgrade. Look to the ITS blog for future updates when the testing has been completed.

In order to enable automatic updates on your Mac, first choose the Apple menu and navigate to “System Preferences”. Once there, click “Software Update”. On the Software Update page, select “Automatically keep my Mac up to date”. Automatic updates should now be enabled.

Apple also recommends enabling several other options to ensure you receive the latest updates automatically. Click “Advanced…” and turn on “Check for updates”, “Download new updates when available”, and “Install system data files and security updates” to best optimize these updates.

Do note, in order to automatically download updates, MacBook devices must be plugged into the power adapter.

For any further questions or if you experience trouble with any part of this process, please contact the Help Desk.

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Enabling and Downloading Security Updates on Windows

Windows Update should be enabled by default on any device with Windows 10. All college-owned computers are updated weekly. The remaining information here is for non-college-owned devices having trouble connecting to the network.

With the release of Windows 11, ITS recommends that you not upgrade to this new operating system until ITS has had the chance to test it thoroughly and ensure that it will work on the network. Look to the ITS blog for future posts when this testing is complete.

If you’re having trouble connecting to the Etown network, or you’ve been notified by ITS that you are missing important updates, you should check your computer for any uninstalled security updates that may be available for download.

To check for what Windows considers “optional updates”, search for “Windows Update Settings” from your Start menu and select either “Check for updates” or “Windows Update Settings” (both lead to the same page).

A search for Windows Update, with arrows pointing to both the "Check for updates" and "Windows Update settings" options

If there are any available optional updates, they may show up on this screen above a “Download and install” button. Just click the button to download the update, which may require a computer restart. 

To check for any updates not currently shown, click the “Check for updates” button and wait for the search to finish. If any show up, just click “Download and install” to install them.

If you are not sure whether or not an update listed is considered a security update, ITS recommends that you install it in order to best keep your PC up to date.

For any further questions or if you experience trouble with any part of this process, please contact the Help Desk.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Home Page, Windows 10 Tagged with: , , , , ,

Disabling Windows News and Interests

If you use Windows 10, you’ve likely noticed a new icon on the taskbar. Referred to by Windows as the “News and interests” tab, the icon appears in the form of a small weather forecast on the taskbar next to the time and date. When hovered over, it shows an array of news stories and other interest-related widgets.

Want to remove the icon from the taskbar entirely (or just reduce it in size)? Windows offers both options. Right click anywhere on the taskbar and navigate to the “News and interests” option. Once selected, just move over to the sub-menu that appears and select one of the two options: “Turn off” completely disables the icon, while “Show icon only” retains a smaller iteration of it.

Image: Hover over "News and interests" in the taskbar menu and click "Turn off"

As always, if you have any trouble with this process or any other questions, please contact the Help Desk.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Home Page, Windows 10 Tagged with: , , , , ,

Software Available through Portal

Want to try a new Adobe Creative Cloud application? Wish the version of SPSS that’s installed on your college-owned computer matched the one in the labs? Need to install software when the ITS office is closed? ITS is launching a self-serve software portal where Etown faculty and staff can install some commonly requested software on their Windows college-owned devices without needing to contact ITS for support.

At the time of this post, the following software is available for Windows devices:

  • 7-Zip
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Adobe Creative Cloud software (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.)
  • Adobe Digital Editions
  • Audacity
  • Cisco Jabber
  • iTunes
  • MatLab R2020b
  • R
  • RStudio
  • SPSS 27
  • VLC
  • Zoom

This knowledgebase article has the details for accessing the portal and installing the software. And, as always, feel free to contact the Help Desk if you have difficulty with the process.

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Forti Family Notifications

The move to the Forti family for Etown network protection brings some changes to the types and quantity of notifications that you might see.

FortiClient Notifications: These pop-ups are displayed when changes are made to your computer or the FortiClient software. You can stop the FortiClient notifications by following the steps in this knowledgebase article. You can use these instructions to change the notification settings for other apps too.

Software Blocked Messages: FortiNET Endpoint Detection and Response Platform (FortiEDR) scans programs when they are executed before allowing them to run on your computer. Occasionally, it will block a process and will provide a blocked message. If you receive this message, please contact the Help Desk to have the program reviewed.

Software Quarantined: FortiClient runs a real-time and a monthly scheduled scan of all files on your computer. During these scans, if an unsafe file is discovered, it will be quarantined and ITS will be notified. You may see a message that the quarantine has taken place, please contact the Help Desk to have the program reviewed.

Website Blocked: FortiClient provides web filtering. While this filtering will only occur while on campus for non-college-owned computers, for college-owned devices the filter works both on and off campus. If you feel that a website has been blocked in error, this knowledgebase article provides instructions for submitting URLs to FortiNET for review and reclassification.

Permissions for Protection: MacOS users will have to grant Full Disk Access permission for FortiClient and several of its processes to allow the program to work. This knowledgebase article provides step-by-step instructions for making those changes.

If you have concerns about any of the Forti family notifications, or any other questions, please contact the Help Desk. Thanks for your efforts in keeping the Etown network secure!

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Posted in Computer Tips, Cybersecurity, Digital Citizenship, Home Page, Training, Windows 10 Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Change in VPN Connection Software

In addition to providing exceptional security and protection from viruses and malware, Etown’s new antivirus software, FortiClient, has a VPN connection option.

If you use a college-owned laptop with FortiClient installed, you can begin to use the VPN component immediately. Simply launch FortiClient on your computer and choose “Remote Access” from the left navigation panel.  From the VPN Name field select the “College Owned VPN-SSL” option for use of all resources including network drives or select the “Non College Owned VPN” if you just want to use Remote Desktop or securely browse the internet. Then, enter your Etown username and password and choose connect. You’ll be prompted to enter your Microsoft verification (MFA) code in the Answer field to confirm the connection.

Unlike Cisco AnyConnect, FortiClient VPN can connect while on the Etown network, so you can give it a try while you’re on campus.

And, if you want to connect to the Etown VPN from a non-college-owned computer, you can install FortiVPN on your personal windows or mac computer. Details about downloading and installing the FortiClient VPN software are available in this knowledgebase article.

You can find step-by-step instructions for using FortiClient to make the VPN connection from a college-owned or non-college-owned computer in this knowledgebase article. Once the VPN connection is made, the process to open a remote desktop to a computer or terminal server and to access your files remains the same.

As always, please contact the Help Desk if you have any difficulty with the process or any other questions.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Cybersecurity, Digital Citizenship, Home Page Tagged with: , , , , , ,

New Antivirus on Campus – FortiClient

Beginning this month, ITS will be deploying FortiClient, Etown’s new antivirus solution. This software will replace Cisco AMP for Endpoints and will be required on all computers accessing the college network for the 2021-22 academic year. FortiClient will be installed on college-owned computers during the weekly maintenance windows and users should expect to see the FortiClient icon appear on their desktops when the installation occurs. The installation files for FortiClient for students will be available before the end of the spring 2021 semester in a future communication.

For faculty and staff computers, FortiClient will run in conjunction with FortiNET’s Endpoint Detection and Response Platform (FortiEDR). FortiEDR scans programs when they are executed for potential risks and then blocks or allows them to run based on the files being accessed. If a program is blocked by the FortiEDR client, ITS will have to investigate and allow it if it is legitimate. FortiClient runs a monthly scheduled scan of all files on the computer and has real time protection when files are accessed by comparing it to a library of known viruses which is updated regularly. FortiClient will quarantine a file infected with a potential virus for further inspection. The two products work together to fully protect computers against known and new threats.

If you’re interested in more details about FortiClient, check this website.

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Esbenshade Classroom Renovations

Renovations of the A/V equipment in these Esbenshade classrooms has been completed over winter break:

  • E 163
  • E 182
  • E 184
  • E 260H
  • E 273
  • E 360
  • E 368

The classroom upgrades will improve the functionality for teaching both remote and in-person students while keeping to our standards for in-room presentation, and include:

  • Lectern PC
  • Dual monitors on lectern
  • Projector
  • USB-C laptop dock connection
  • VGA with auxiliary audio connection
  • Webcam
  • Hovercam (document camera)

The dual monitor configuration is different than in other classrooms across campus: one monitor will display what is shown on the projector, the second will display only the lectern PC. If the lectern PC is selected as the projector source, there is a link on the desktop to duplicate the desktop or extend between monitors, providing work space that is not viewable by the class.

We have added a shortcut on the lectern PC desktop to the knowledgebase where you can find more detailed instructions and videos.

The USB-C connection connects the laptop video/audio output and USB devices. Video, audio, and USB devices (including webcam and hovercam) can be routed separately by manually selecting the destination or together by selecting “Send to All.” The USB devices will not be available to older laptops without the USB-C connection.

The installed webcam and hovercam can be used with either the lectern PC or the laptop dock connection. This laptop connection will allow Zoom to run from the laptop and provide opportunity to take advantage of the in-room devices.

The monitors will be mounted on a single mount and will be movable simultaneously with a bar. These mounts are currently backordered but are expected to be installed prior to the start of remote classes.

Please contact the Help Desk if you would like to be updated with changes to the schedule for a particular space or if you have any questions.

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Protecting Your Account with MFA

At this time of year phishers and scammers are counting on you being too busy and distracted to pay real attention to their attacks. Entering your password in a malicious website (that is pretending to look like a legitimate Etown-related website) can give someone access to your email (including all the messages in folders and sent items), Jayweb, OneDrive, even your network folders. Once a bad actor has access to your password and data, they can wreak havoc with your personal information and corrupt the network.

One easy way to limit your vulnerability is to enroll your Etown account in Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA (also referred to as two-factor authentication) enhances the security of your account by requiring both your password and a separate code (texted to your phone or supplied in an app) in order to complete the login process. If you have MFA enabled, even if someone acquires your password, they won’t be able to access your account since they won’t be able to provide the required second-factor code.

Enrolling in MFA is easy and takes only a few minutes. You can find the details about MFA at Etown and the steps for getting set up in this series of knowledgebase articles. And while enrollment in MFA is voluntary now, all Etown accounts will require MFA starting February 24, 2021, so beat the rush and enroll now!

As always, please contact the Help Desk if you have any difficulty with the process or any other questions.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Cybersecurity, Digital Citizenship, Home Page, Web Tips, Windows 10 Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Outlook Cortana Briefings

Do you find yourself constantly forgetting to respond to emails? Need a refresher on the documents sent to you a week ago for a meeting? Looking to schedule some time to just get some work done with no distractions? Outlook’s Cortana Briefings might help you!

The Cortana Briefing gives you updates on any emails that you might have missed in the past couple of days. On top of that, Cortana also highlights details and documents that are related to any scheduled events in your outlook calendar. Cortana briefings also allow you to schedule focus time: this time, chosen by you, silences all outlook notifications for a set period of time to help prevent distractions while working.

Cortana Briefings are off by default but you can enable or disable them anytime at https://cortana.office.com/

If you have any issues, please reach out to the Help Desk at helpdesk@etown.edu or call 717-361-3333.

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Maintain Account Access with MFA

We’re all getting ready to put the Fall 2020 semester behind us and prepare for 2021, but with the temporary shift away from our roles as Etown College community members we need to remember that network passwords still expire over break! You can avoid losing access to your email and other network resources by resetting your password before you finish the semester, and you should consider enrolling in Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) too. MFA (also referred to as two-factor authentication) not only enhances the security of your account, but also allows you to reset your account password using a phone number that you link to your account. This option may be helpful if you realize you can’t check your email or access Jayweb when the ITS office is closed. Enrolling in MFA is easy and takes only a few minutes. You can find the details about MFA at Etown and the steps for getting set up in this series of knowledgebase articles.

As always, please contact the Help Desk if you have any difficulty with the process or any other questions.

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Etown’s Status Page

Cant log into you email? Can’t submit your assignment on Canvas? Can’t connect to your Zoom meeting? Now with Etown’s new status page you can check if you are the only one having the issue.

Our new status page displays the college systems like wireless, printing, phones, Office365, Canvas, and Zoom. The display also shows any current and past issues with each system. Our status page also lets you subscribe to emails, letting you know when something is down!

Just visit status.etown.edu and you’ll be able to see what is and isn’t working on campus!

If you have any issues with being able to access any of the systems, please reach out to the Help Desk at helpdesk@etown.edu or call 717-361-3333.

 

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Quarantine Email Folder

You may have seen a new folder called “Quarantine” in your email. And there may have been a message in the folder, but now it’s gone… No, you’re not seeing things! The folder and any messages in it are part of a new process to manage the phishing messages that impact the college email. This change is connected to the KnowBe4 Phish Alert Button (PAB) that we’re using to report phishing attempts.

Until now, the management of messages reported through the PAB has been mostly manual, but a new product from KnowBe4 allows us to automate some of the steps. The new process works like this: a phishing message is reported with the PAB and generates an ITS notification. If the reported email appears to be a phishing message, there is an automated process to move it from the inbox of any Etown recipient to the new quarantine folder. Once the message has been quarantined, ITS takes a more thorough look at it and confirms that it is a phishing attempt. Once confirmed as phishing, the message is permanently deleted from all Etown mailboxes. If the review of the message shows that it is safe, it is moved back to the original inboxes.

Most of the time the quarantine folder will be empty, but because the process isn’t instantaneous you may occasionally see a message there. If there is a message in the folder, it is being investigated. Please, don’t open any email messages in the quarantine folder. While it’s in that folder it can still be opened and cause harm. If the email message is legitimate, it will be delivered to your inbox; if it is a phishing attempt, it will be deleted from your mailbox.

Thanks for your help in keeping the Etown network safe!

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RDP, VPN, MFA… WTH?

Recently overheard at the ITS Help Desk: To use that program from off campus, you can RDP into the terminal server, but in order to RDP you have to connect through VPN, and that requires that you have MFA set up… Wait, what?

With the increase of Etown’s remote learners and some updates to the network security, there’s a whole new set of acronyms in use across campus. Here’s some basic information about each of them and how they may impact you:

VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is an encrypted connection from an Internet accessible device to a secure network. In our environment, we use a program called Cisco AnyConnect to connect to the Etown network from any computer that is connected to the Internet. Once you’re connected through the VPN while off campus, you can access almost all the files, folders, and programs that you can use when you’re on campus. So, you’ll be able to access your professor’s public folder, your class folder, and other shared materials when you connect through the VPN.

Every person with an etown.edu account has VPN access enabled. And, Cisco AnyConnect is available for installation on PCs and Macs through a link in Jayweb. For more information about how to install the Cisco AnyConnect software and details on how to connect to the VPN, check out the information in this set of knowledgebase articles.

MFA

Multi-Factor Authentication, or MFA, is a security measure that requires more than one method of authentication from different categories of credentials to verify a user’s identity. MFA is sometimes called Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA, and is required by Google if you have a Gmail account, and probably in use by your bank and other accounts you access through the Internet.

In simple terms, to login, a user has to prove who they are by presenting something they know (their password) and something they have (a code on a cell phone). Without both pieces of information, any requested logon will be denied. So, if you have MFA enabled, even if someone acquires your password, they won’t be able to access your account since they won’t be able to provide the required second factor code.

Although MFA isn’t mandatory for all user accounts at Etown, it is required to use VPN. And, ITS is working toward full campus enrollment in MFA, so enrolling now will bring us closer to that goal. You can find more information about MFA at Etown and how to set it up in this section of the knowledgebase.

RDP

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) allows a user to remotely control another computer as though they were working on it directly. Using RDP, through the campus quarantine, many members of the Etown community connect into their office computers and perform their normal job duties from their home offices.

The Remote Desktop Connection software is installed as part of the standard operating system on all Windows computers; just type “remote desktop” in the search bar of Windows to access it. For Mac users, Microsoft has a free app for use on your MacOS devices through the App Store.

While a number of the computers on campus don’t allow an RDP connection for security reasons, students who need to use software that won’t install or run correctly on their personal computers can RDP to the ECSTUDENT-TS terminal server to use a wide variety of academic software. There are similar terminal servers available for faculty and staff use. The “Connect to Office Computer or Terminal Server” section of this knowledgebase article for PCs and this knowledgebase article for Macs provides detailed instructions and screenshots of the RDP process.

Not Sure What You Need to Use?

If you’re learning or working off campus, you’ll need to connect through VPN first, then you can use the RDP program to access the terminal server or computer. If you’re on campus, you’re already connected to the Etown network, so you can skip the VPN step and go straight to the RDP connection. In either case, make sure you’ve enabled MFA to add the extra security to your account!

Hopefully, this will help to shed some light on these newer terms. As always, please contact the ITS Help Desk with any questions or concerns you have. BTW, ITS stands for Information and Technology Services.

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Posted in Computer Tips, Digital Citizenship, Home Page, New Student Tips, Teaching and Learning, Training, Windows 10 Tagged with: , , , ,

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